Success in manufacturing? It’s all about the product, right? Not anymore.

Our new research report highlights how today’s top manufacturers are differentiating on service—with the help of IoT, AI and shared, customer-centric metrics.

The report, Revolutionising Customer Service in Manufacturing, is based on data from nearly 300 global service trailblazers in the manufacturing and automotive industries.


Why is service the new differentiator for manufacturers?

Faced with growing, global competition, manufacturers everywhere are keen to avoid getting sucked into a race to the bottom on price. At the same time, over half of the manufacturers we surveyed reported increasing difficulty competing based on product differentiation.

But with limited power to differentiate on product and price, how do you still stand out from the crowd, and clearly demonstrate your value to customers?

According to many of today’s manufacturers, the answer is simple—you win on customer service instead. Indeed, of those manufacturers struggling with product differentiation, 86% believe customer experience is now a key competitive differentiator.

And right now, the opportunity to win on service is huge:

Given all this, it’s unsurprising that 71% of manufacturing service teams have strengthened their focus on creating deeper customer relationships over the past 12–18 months.


How are leading manufacturers revolutionising service?

In their drive to deliver smarter service experiences, top manufacturers are looking to intelligent technologies – and wising up to the power of a strong connection between customer facing business functions…

Internet of Things (IoT) adoption is skyrocketing

Here in the UK, 68% of buyers expect companies to start providing internet-connected products and services by 2020. And there’s evidence to suggest they won’t be disappointed.

As IoT becomes more mainstream, a growing number of manufacturers are deploying connected products to deliver more predictive service. Such IoT-enabled products may, for example, automatically alert service agents when they develop a fault, or simply need replacing.

Between 2015 and 2016, the share of manufacturing service teams leveraging IoT grew by 119%. And by this time next year, 65% of UK services teams (in all industries) plan to be using the Internet of Things to learn more about how customers are using products.

Leading teams are turning to AI

It isn’t just IoT giving top manufacturing service teams the edge. With AI in manufacturing. are talking elevators are sign of things to come?

One in two UK customers expect that, within the next three years, companies will use artificial intelligence to automatically purchase or recommend products based on their preferences.

Leading manufacturig service teams are on top of this change, and ahead of the curve. They’re:

  • 3.3x more likely than their underperforming peers to anticipate AI transforming their organisations by 2020
  • 2.1x more likely to use AI already

Service is partnering with Sales – to become a revenue generator

It’s tough – if not impossible – to create outstanding customer experiences when every business function has its own, discrete goals and siloed systems.

For many manufacturing service teams, the benefits of building bridges have clearly become too great to ignore. The vast majority (69%) now say they share common goals and metrics with sales colleagues, while two-thirds regularly contribute to sales pipeline generation through customer interactions.

One UK manufacturer that’s successfully turned its service team from a cost centre to a valuable source of revenue is Vax.

Since minimising the number of systems its service agents had to navigate, Vax has been able to increase agent basket conversion by an average of £10 per customer. As Carole Edwards, Director of Customer Service at Vax explains,

“In the last four years, sales volumes for the contact centre have almost tripled to £1.6 million […] It’s no longer seen as a cost centre, but a revenue generator.”


Want to learn more about how top manufacturers are making waves with customer service? Just check out the full research report here.

You’ll discover the 10 seismic shifts happening within manufacturing customer service teams – and find out how winning teams are rising to the challenge, and reaping the rewards.